“…well-written, semi-autographical book by Richard J. O’Brien, Rejoice for the Dead leads you to places that a non-military person may not know or understand. The loneliness, depression, and less than ideal training conditions described are an interesting look into a soldiers life…” Green Gables Book Reviews
“What happened was I started thinking about my father being dead and all, and how he would no longer be able to hear the waves hitting the beach or look up at the autumn night sky and see one of those harvest moons that he loved so much. Mostly, I just felt sad over the prospect of death meaning the end of everything we enjoyed in this world. Heaven, or some reasonable facsimile of it, was not a given; not the way more tactile things were like the sights, the sounds, and the moments that made up the sum of our experiences. I started crying as I stood facing the ocean and thinking about how sometimes the world was just too much, especially when I was alone.”
A few months after Bobby O’Malley joins the army to pay for his college education, he learns that his father is dying. O’Malley returns home to see his father one last time and bury him. Afterward, he is forced to put off his mourning, so he can continue his new role as an infantry soldier. In 1985, during a decade of excess, that role means mostly falling in with the wrong people and drinking to dull the pain of loss. Along the way, O’Malley makes some friends, falls in love with a married woman, and learns a secret about his father that changes his life.